Lois Kohn-Claar, C’88, GED’88, and Gary Claar, W’88

March 1, 2019

by Karen Doss Bowman

Lois Kohn-Claar, C’88, GED’88, believes technology holds the power to transform education. With an insider’s view of both traditional classrooms and the field of educational technology, she is dedicated to the challenge of re-envisioning learning. After starting her career as a high school history teacher, Kohn-Claar worked for more than a decade in educational technology. She began at Thirteen/WNET as manager of LearningLink, a pioneering online network for K–12 education, and later joined the EDC Center for Children and Technology.

“I began to see the possibilities that emerge when technology is utilized in education,” says Kohn-Claar, a member of the Penn GSE Board of Overseers. “Technology can be an amazing tool, but it is only as good as how it is used to enhance learning.”

Because Kohn-Claar appreciates Penn GSE’s commitment to preparing teachers for the next era in the field of education, she and her husband, Gary Claar, W’88, have established a gift to support the newly launched Collaboratory for Teacher Education at Penn GSE. Their support will help to advance the Collaboratory’s work in the design, implementation, and study of experimental approaches to teacher education, with a focus on project-based learning initiatives.

“Education is at a pivotal moment right now, and the old models that were based in an industrial age aren’t relevant anymore,” says Kohn-Claar. “Penn GSE is at the forefront of applying new and innovative models.”

“Nothing is more important than having inspirational and dedicated educators.”

In project-based learning, teachers place students in an active role, guiding them through a process of problem solving and creating. Technology is essential as students conduct research and produce projects that often involve computer programming, 3D printing, and multimedia. Through the new Project-Based Learning Certificate Program, Penn GSE and the Collaboratory are taking the lead in professional development for a new era in education. 

“Nothing is more important than having inspirational and dedicated educators,” says Kohn-Claar, who admires the vision and leadership of Dean Pam Grossman and other Penn GSE administra­tors and faculty. “It gives me great pride to see Penn GSE’s continued leadership in education.”

To learn more about the Extraordinary Impact Campaign, visit www.gse.upenn.edu/support/extraordinary-impact or contact us at 215.573.6623 or alumni@gse.upenn.edu.

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2018 issue of The Penn GSE Magazine.